Tag Archive for Adelphi Road

FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #317: “Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms!”

Sometimes a letter from a reader makes me pick up an old book, leaf through the pages. Often there’s a surprise. This one reminded of a song we used to sing long ago on the Adelphi Road of my childhood. 
Hello my name is Ali and ı am 10 years old, I read your book the mummy mystery and I want to give my opinion:
The book was great because they have to find the mummy mystery and they never heard any mummies in their neighborhood. My favorite character was joey because he was so brave and smart but he was a child and a detective he could find and clue for the missing things. Thats why I loved your book.
I replied . . . 

Thank you for your kind note. It is a gift to me — to hear what a reader like you thinks about one of my books. 
I’m glad that you enjoyed Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Mummy Mystery
As a little boy, my brothers used to sing that song to me: 
“Nobody likes me,
Everybody hates me,
Guess I’ll go eat worms.
First you peel the skin off,
then you chew the guts up,
Ooey-gooey woooorms!”
I always remembered that (gross) song. Years later, when it was time to write this book, I decided to put that song into it. That’s how writing often works for me. The small memories, the little events, the details of our lives help us compose the stories that make sense of our past. 
Keep reading!
James Preller
And Ali wrote back with a correction . . . 
I am so excited to receive a response back from you, I never thought I would get a reply from the author of the book I read! I am thrilled! 
I am really glad that you liked my opinion. I had some mistakes in the email I sent. My favorite character was Jigsaw but i accidentally wrote Joey.
Kind regards,

Our Scarecrow Tradition: Photograph, 1973

Some of you among my Nation of Readers may recall this post from October 30th, and the wonderful snaps contained therein, about the time-honored Preller tradition of building a Halloween scarecrow.

Here’s a handy visual reminder of said scarecrow, circa 2008:

Well. Recently my sister’s high school friend, Bruce Donnola (who, amazingly, went on to become !Bruce Donnola!), sent me this classic photo from 1973 — which varifies that I wasn’t lying about the whole scarecrow thing. And if I ever get it scanned, I have another b/w one from what has to be from the ’50s — same scarecrow across six decades. Prellers. Don’t. Change.

A few comments about the photo:

1) That’s my sister Jean, or two-thirds of her, on the left; Bruce in the middle, with his cool long hair; and the lovely and talented Sharon Kosakoff, right.

2) Bruce claims that my mother took this shot. And after careful study, I can only say: looks about right. Pointing was never Mom’s bread-and-butter. In fact, come to think of it, bread-and-butter was Mom’s bread-and-butter. And a can of Campbell’s creamy mushroom soup poured over pan-fried boneless chicken breasts.

3) Behind them, look!, that’s my old house where I used to live! 1720 Adelphi Road, Wantagh, NY. I had the same phone number my entire childhood: 718-785-7379. There’s something really nice about that.

4) Nixon was President at the time of this photo. I remember him well. Believe it or not, Nixon’s dog, Checkers, immortalized in the legendary “Checkers Speech” of 1952, is buried in my hometown, right across from the Wantagh High School. We used to hang out there sometimes, cutting classes, just for the delicious teenage irony of it.

5) I place a key dramatic scene at this exact gravesite in my upcoming novel, Bystander (Fall, 2009). Just for the nostalgic irony of it. True story.

Have a great weekend.